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UAE Private Sector Pledges to Speed up Gender Balance in Leadership

Dubai - United Arab Emirates


Signatories pledge to raise percentage of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2025

Dubai: In a first-of-its-kind initiative for the UAE private sector, 18 leading local and multinational companies from diverse sectors have signed a pledge to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).

This pledge by the private sector aims to increase gender balance in the workplace, with an emphasis on increasing the representation of women in leadership positions to 30 per cent by 2025 through policy, programme, and initiative developments that are aligned with the UAE government’s direction.

Companies that signed the pledge include Majid Al Futtaim Holding, Masdar, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Dubai Holding, Unilever, Standard Chartered Bank, MasterCard, Michelin, UPS, General Motors, Schneider Electric, PepsiCo, Mondelez International, BASF, Mars, Nestle, and General Mills.

Each of the signatories committed to taking key actions before 2025 to strengthen gender balance in leadership positions, including by: ensuring equal pay and fair compensation; promoting gender equitable recruitment and promotion; mainstreaming gender balance through policies and programmes; and being transparent about progress with fellow signatories and government.

Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment, and wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, commended this voluntary initiative, which reflects the unique partnership between the government and private sector in the UAE to achieve the national goals and a future vision by the wise leadership that will enable the country to be a leading global economy in the next fifty years.

She stressed on the pivotal role of the private sector in supporting the government’s efforts to enhance the UAE’s global competitiveness. She affirmed that gender balance is a key priority for the government, and that the private sector is an indispensable partner in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 5 (Gender Equality). She stressed that the pledge will be an inspiration for the region and the world.

Equal world is inclusive world

Olivia Bellingham, Senior Vice President, Strategy, EMEA, Mastercard, said: “An equal world is a more inclusive world, and Mastercard remains committed to wholeheartedly support the journey to gender balance with all our resources, technology, and the power of our network. Every time we embrace a chance to include and celebrate diversity, is an opportunity in which we keep momentum to effect change and create a better world.”

She added: “We are therefore absolutely delighted to play our part in advancing gender balance in the UAE by committing to this pledge. Gender equality is one of the key pillars for Mastercard across the UAE and the wider region, as we strive to ensure gender equality within our organization, as well as unlock the female economy and empower women entrepreneurs. Public-private partnerships such as this one play a key role in this journey, enabling us to further accelerate this mission.”

Ahmed Khashan, President, Schneider Electric, Gulf Countries, also commended the initiative. He said: “At Schneider Electric, gender balance is a top priority for us, both locally and globally. As a company, we take pride in the way we nurture an inclusive culture where both women and men are empowered, appreciated, and, most importantly, valued in the organisation. Gender balance is key to how we run our business and it is why we have such a diverse and inclusive team that is dedicated to bringing our energy-efficient and sustainable technologies to the world.”

40/60 target

Patrick Higgins, People and Organisation Director for Mars Middle East and Africa also applauded the pledge. He said: “At Mars, the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today and, in the world we want tomorrow, society is inclusive and women are reaching their full potential. Our ambition within Mars Middle East Africa is to be the powerhouse of quality growth for Mars – and to do so we must have the right diverse talent to unlock this growth and be able to reach our objective which is to reach a 40/60 ratio before 2025 across all levels of our organisation and especially at our leadership levels, which will be a catalyst for further diversifying our entire organisation.”

Higgins added: “This pledge is a testament to the progress the UAE has made to promote gender balance across the nation. We at Mars are very proud to partner with the Gender Balance Council on this initiative to drive a shared agenda to advance female representation in senior and middle management.”


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